Utah’s 2018 elections saw peaks and valleys for voting rights. During the election, Native Americans in Utah experienced significant voter suppression that worked to disenfranchise them and create unnecessary barriers to vote. In July of this year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld a district court’s ruling requiring new school district and county commission maps be drawn in a Utah county because they had been unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered. Utah lawmakers should focus on improving the voting rights of Native Americas. One measure might be the Native American Voting Rights Act of 2019, which was introduced in the U.S. Congress. This legislation would remove barriers for indigenous people when registering to vote and would expand opportunities for participation in the voting process. Improving voting rights for Native Americans should be a priority for all Americans.

Last November, Utah voters passed Proposition Four — an anti-gerrymandering initiative that establishes an independent redistricting commission. Independent redistricting commissions are essential to preventing partisan gerrymandering.

During this session, Utah voters saw one expansion in their voting rights as legislators passed measures to extend early voting hours (SB 61). Making early voting accessible is an important way to promote free and fair elections.